Honestly, we don’t know if this is the last installment in the saga of the old Ford Maverick and its frugal 5.0-liter V8 engine. Yes, we said frugal, as this throaty 1970s sedan has a carburetor from a lawn mower and achieves over 40 miles per gallon on the highway. This latest video from ThunderHead289, however, shows the downside of such efficiency. How does 60 horsepower sound?
Just to recap, we came upon this crazy experiment back in early May. This 1974 Maverick is something of a testbed for its owner Luke Finley, who also is quite knowledgable on engines and fuel systems. Apparently, someone told him he couldn’t make a carburetor from a small lawn mower engine work on the old-school pushrod V8. So he did, and it actually worked surprisingly well. In fact, he and his father drove the Maverick on the recent Hot Rod Power Tour, covering over 1,000 miles with the little carb doling out gasoline drip by drip.
That brings us to the video, as we finally learn the downside of absolutely obliterating the fuel economy of a new Honda Civic with an old Ford V8. Strapped to a mobile dyno during the power tour, the Maverick’s mighty engine produced a whopping – wait for it – 59.7 horsepower to the wheels. The engine managed around 3,500 rpm during the pull, at which point there just wasn’t anything left to give. The dyno graph showed peak power at a very low 2,300 rpm, with 138 pound-feet of peak torque hitting at 2,125 revs. At least the available power comes on at a low engine speed.
Here’s where the irony comes in. Some quick calculations tell us the engine should be making around 85-90 hp at the crankshaft. That’s about the same power you’d find in a mid-1970s Ford Maverick straight from the factory, equipped with the entry-level inline-six engine. So basically, the tiny lawn mower carb turns this modded V8 Maverick into a stock I6 model, only with better fuel economy. And with a quick carburetor swap, you’re back to tire-roasting tomfoolery, ’70s style.
Of course, Finley didn’t simply bolt the small carburetor to the engine and call it done. Aside from creating custom adapters and throttle linkages, he modified various parts of the fuel delivery system and added a real-time monitoring app for tweaking air-fuel ratios. And while it does work quite well, he continues to stress that it’s not practical.
His mission was to simply prove it could be done. And to that end, we’d say the mission is well and truly accomplished.